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K-State Today

May 17, 2011

Green success: Event collects tons of e-waste for recycling

Submitted by Julie Fosberg

Good riddance -- and good for the environment, too.

More than 17,000 pounds of electronic waste -- or e-waste -- was collected April 30 at the electronics waste recycle event sponsored by K-State, PSC Environmental Services and the city of Manhattan.

PSC and K-State worked together to secure sponsors to provide materials, equipment, in-kind services and monetary contributions to support the event. According to survey results, 10 percent of the nearly 200 people who dropped off e-waste traveled more than 10 miles to do so, and 50 percent had been storing the e-waste for more than five years.

"This was a wonderful collaboration of volunteers: K-State, the city of Manhattan and industries," said Kelly Phillips, K-State environmental manager. "The volunteers worked together as a team and enjoyed helping the community protect the environment."

The collected items, including old computers, TV sets, game consoles and many other types of electronic products, were taken to Electronic Recyclers International, which has locations across the country, for recycling. The electronics are de-manufactured -- or taken apart -- to component level, with the components processed back into raw materials for use in new products.

"Disposal of e-waste in municipal landfills is potentially harmful because of toxic heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, chromium and mercury," Phillips said. "This event offered the community a safe alternative. Most of the materials in e-waste -- plastic, glass, metals and precious metals -- are highly recyclable and have value if handled properly.

"This effort also shows the commitment of Kansas State and the city of Manhattan to offer more recycling options that lead to a more sustainable community."

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